Craig Williams is set continue his international presence when he takes up a two months riding stint in Japan for prominent owner Katsumi Yoshida.
The well renowned jockey will interrupt his Japanese commitments with a couple of trips to England to team up with Ortensia, who he won on in the international stage over the Dubai World Cup Carnival, taking out the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) at Meydan on March 31.
The Paul Messara trained mare will be aimed at Group 1 £350,000 The King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot on June 19, attempting to add to her already multiple Group 1 wins.
And Williams will also be back aboard Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden when he goes around in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 2.
Williams missed the winning ride on Dunaden when he took out last year’s Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington but was quickly back on board the six year old to take out the Group 1 US$2.5m The Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 11.
But Williams is keen to start his Japan assignment on the right note and will be hoping for some early winners starting next week.
“I’ll be riding Alfredo in the NHK Mile on Sunday and then there are a lot of other big races coming up,” Williams said.
“There’s the Oaks and the Derby followed by the Yasuda Kinen.”
“I ride for Mr Yoshida and I think I have about three options for the Oaks and two for the Derby.”
“Japan is fantastic, it’s a great place.”
Williams is keen to learn more of the Japanese language to help him with his acceptance speeches for the many of feature races he is hoping to win.
“I know about two phrases but luckily I have a full time interpreter,” he said.
“It’s a very hard language to learn.”
Williams has already tasted success in Japan with wins on Alfredo in the country’s biggest two year old race last season as well as a win on Grand Prix Boss in the 2011 Group 1 NHK Mile Cup (1608m).
Even though Williams missed out on the Melbourne Cup last year, he still had a stellar Spring Carnival with wins on Pinker Pinker in the Group 1 $3m Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and Southern Speed in the Group 1 $2.6m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
And he managed to pick a Group 1 win over the Sydney Autumn Carnival, causing an upset on Master Of Design in the $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) at Randwick on April 14.